Phase 7 #motherofallroadtrips: South By Southeast

South, USA By

Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico

4th March – 4th April

Total approximate miles: 2,181 (3,509 km)

Total fuel: US$187

Phase seven continues our #motherofallroadtrips.

Phase 1: We toured Eastern Canada for over one month.

Phase 2: A little under one month in the Midwest USA.

Phase 3: We made our way from Oregon to Vancouver, Canada.

Phase 4: We discovered Western Canada with a quick side trip to Alaska.

Phase 5: Drove more than 5,500 km from British Colombia to New York.

Phase 6: A meandering journey from New York to Florida with stops in Nashville & Atlanta.

Spending 5 weeks in Florida during winter was perfect for us, and we also took a little timeout for Disney, Universal and Legoland. We were not quite ready to leave, but the #motherofallroadtrips had to go on! 

Phase #7 – Florida to New Mexico: 

Marianna, Florida, USA

4th March

Accommodation: Super 8  (check latest prices...)

One month in Florida just flew by. During the last few days my sister visited and we spend a day at Disney World and 2 incredible days at Universal Studios. On 4th March we dropped her back at the airport and used our hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort, right up to checkout, swimming and relaxing by the pool. 

After lunch we started our drive, going as long as we desired and finally stopping around 6pm in a little town off the highway.

Petal, Mississippi, USA

5th – 7th March

Accommodation: Family (check prices in area...)

Our car wouldn’t start this morning so the kids and I passed some time at Walmart while Josh waited for the jump-start. Big Red was soon moving again and we made it safely to Mississippi.

We were there to visit Josh’s family that the kids and I had never met. It was a wonderful trip and I adored hearing about his roots. They spoiled us with delicious, gluten-free cooking and a tour of lovely Petal and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. 

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

7th – 10th March

Accommodation: Le Pavilion  (check latest prices...)

After 3 years we were back at one our favourite US cities, New Orleans, and it didn’t disappoint. We spent our days exploring Mardi Gras World, touring the French Quarter and eating all that NOLA had to offer – po’boys, beignets, etouffee and more! 

View from rooftop pool at our hotel, Le Pavillon
Petite Campagne at Palace Cafe (prosciutto, lamb terrine, venison salami, duck rillettes)

Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

10th – 17th March

Accommodation: Hilton Doubletree (check latest prices...)


The day we departed New Orleans floods hit the region and we ran into some pretty heavy rainfall. The first few days in Lafayette were rainy and I also caught the flu so we decided to book in some extra time to really check out the area.

Lafayette had just as good as food as New Orleans. It didn’t quite have the same charm and atmosphere, but it was a super family friendly destination with a local children’s museum and science centre.

Houston, Texas, USA

17 – 24th March

Accommodation: Red Roof PLUS+ Houston - Energy Corridor (check latest prices...)

We spent a week in Houston visiting children’s museums, NASA and most importantly seeing our first rodeo. We also managed to make an Easter service at the largest church in the US with 43,000 members. 

Irvine, California, USA

18th – 21st March

Accommodation: Hotel Irvine (check prices in area...)

During our Houston stay I left Josh and the kids in the capable hands of loving H-Town and headed to California to speak at the Women In Travel Summit.

It was a wonderful weekend, where I joyfully lost my voice through presentations and panels. Thanks to Travelocity who got me over there and provided cute little gnomes give away to the 400+ attendants. 

Austin, Texas, USA

24th – 27th March

Accommodation: Red Roof Plus+ Austin South (check latest prices...)

This city is a world of it’s own and we loved it. In Austin if something looks weird and out of place, it’s meant to look like that. Whether it’s watching the world’s largest urban bat colony take to the skies or eating at America’s best (and most eccentric) food trucks, Austin has so much to love. 

Award-winning The Shiner (monte cristo) from food truck “Hey!... You gonna eat or what?

Grapevine, Texas, USA

27th – 30th March

Accommodation: Great Wolf Lodge (check prices in area...)

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency  (check latest prices...)

Beautiful Grapevine is close to Dallas and a much quieter country town experience compared to the big cities of Texas. We spent most of our time at the Great Wolf Lodge playing MagiQuest, but did make it out one day to take in Legoland Discovery Centre and the Sealife Aquarium.

On our final day in Grapevine we met 2 lovely team members of Travelocity for lunch and inspiration before pulling out and heading towards Roswell. 

Roswell, New Mexico

30th March

Accommodation: Best Western Sally Port Inn & Suites (check latest prices...)

We crossed western Texas on I-20. This long, straight stretch of road comes with a 75 mph speed limit and hundreds of wind turbines. Initially we didn’t want to attempt the full 7.5-hour drive in one hit, and had picked somewhere in the middle to spend the night. As it turned out the town of Post was very small and didn’t capture our hearts, so we made the decision just to keep trekking. Rolling into Roswell, New Mexico well after 11:30pm, having clocked up 488 miles of driving that day. 

On our whirlwind morning in Roswell we visited the International UFO Museum and Research Center, and stopped off at a number of alien-centric stops in this cute, quirky town. 

On the way to Santa Fe Big Red lost power steering. We made it to our hotel and had her towed to the nearest Ford service shop for a repair. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico

31st March – 4th April

Accommodation: Homewood Suites (check latest prices...)

1 night in Santa Fe turned into 4 as the broken part for our car had to be ordered in and, of course, it was a weekend. It wasn’t all bad. Santa Fe was a very pretty Spanish colonial city – in fact the oldest and highest state capital in America. We managed to hire a car for a quick day trip to Albuquerque, tracking down locations from the TV series “Breaking Bad”, as well as a hike around Kasha - Katuwe Tents Rocks National Monument. Oh, and I mustn’t forget that massage at Ten Thousand Waves, wow! Did you know Santa Fe has the highest number of massage therapists per capita in the US? 

The oldest church in America – San Miguel
Katuwe Tents Rocks National Monument
Don’t worry, that blue stuff is candy
I am the one who knocks!

It was with great relief that we were finally able to leave on Monday for the next leg of our #motherofallroadtrips.

Another one bites the dust. It’s been 10 months so far on our #motherofallroadtrips and we are coming close to the end. Phase 8 will be the last, covering Colorado, Utah and Nevada, where we will relinquish Big Red back to his owners. So sad!

But never fear Big Red may have finished his part in the #motherofallroadtrips but we haven’t! After Phase 8 we will continue on with three new “mini” road trips in Nevada/Arizona, northern California and eastern Canada!

So stay tuned!

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